The role of genetic variation in isoenzyme gene families is often poorly appreciated. We report here on the determination of DNA sequences and typing of genetic variability in four creatine kinase B (CKB) gene loci in different inbred strains of mice. The unique functional murine CKB gene was found to be nearly identical to the previously characterised rat and human sequences in both size and exon-intron structure. In this gene, approximately 0.5% allelic nucleotide positions as well as the lengths of simple A-rich and [TG]n repetitive elements located at the 5′ and 3′ sides of the transcribed segment, differed between inbred strains of mice. Preliminary experiments suggest that this sequence divergence is of importance for design of gene targeting strategies involving homologous DNA recombination. The three additional CKB-like gene loci in mice all had the characteristics of processed pseudogenes. By Southern blot analysis we could demonstrate that both the type and number of pseudogenes differed between inbred strains. Analysis of the CKB gene sequences enabled us to speculate about the evolutionary history of this highly polymorphic subfamily of genes.
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